Therapy and coaching both require the client do some healvy lifting outside of sessions, in very different ways. Reality is, those appointments are 60-90 minutes at most, and it’s really hard to cram everything from the last 1-2 or several weeks into such a small amount of time.
It’s definitely helpful to spend some time before your appointment thinking about what you want to work on so that you can make the best use of your session. It’s also a great idea to take notes in your session (sometimes I’m even nice enough to do this for my clients if it means they stay in the moment and keep processing but will need to refer back to something later on). If in therapy, you can ask your therapist for homework or use your notes to expand on your processing between sessions.
If you’re working with a coach, your coach should be asking thought-provoking questions that help you generate an action plan for your own self. They should also be providing accountability and encouragement, and helping you to decide how you will reach out for support if needed. Some people choose to work with both a therapist and a coach at the same time for an extra opportunity to grow in different ways.
I’m also a big fan of journaling (for myself and for my clients) in between sessions. I like to track my own progress, and journaling does help me reveal new insights. Sometimes, it’s also nice to refer back to old journal entries to see how far I’ve come and keep me moving into new directions. As a therapist, I love it when my clients bring in their journals to read off what they processed that felt significant, as it amplifies therapeutic growth and sometimes gives great material for us to process in session if needed.
I encourage clients to journal at both of my businesses. I encourage them to pick a thought and follow it for at least 10-15 minutes, to see what they get and to go below the surface a little. I invite them to explore what may be bothering them and what they notice happening to their bodies, why that information is relevant, and what they plan to do with what they’ve learned. I also direct them with journal questions or takeaway thought-provoking statements from our sessions where doing so is appropriate and helpful. For some clients, I encourage Pinterest or journal prompt books such as “Practice You,” “List Yourself,” and “The Life Organizer.”
I hope this is helpful in getting you inspired to journal, write, and take control of your own growth both in sessions and outside of sessions.
Rebecca L. Toner, MA, LPC
Freer of Souls. Connector to Purpose. Healer of Lives.